When LeBron James announced he was going to sign with the Lakers last offseason LA fans were obviously ecstatic. James is the best player in the world and a top 3 player of all time according to most people. The Lakers hadn’t made the Playoffs since 2013 and were desperate to be competitive again.
Now the Lakers are 9-7 and it looks like it will be a struggle to make the Playoffs let alone get to the Conference Finals. Apart from LeBron, the Lakers are a bunch of decent players, but in today’s NBA you need superstar talent to win big.
If LA are to trade up for a star then logic dictates that Ingram and Ball be the ones to go in return. Ball is the 3rd best ball-handler behind Rondo and LeBron and Ingram doesn’t stretch the defense enough with his outside shooting for him to viable going forward.
They both still have great trade value though and this should be capitalized on. Even without LeBron at the helm LA is a great destination for any athlete. With LeBron and his team-first attitude, the Los Angeles lure is even greater. The addition of a superstar would also push the Lakers right into title contention.
Here are my top 4 trades the Lakers could pull off that would vault them right into the mix for this year’s championship.
Bradley Beal and John Wall
The Wizards are atrocious this season and any chemistry that had been built over the past few years has disappeared. The players are disinterested, nobody is taking charge and the aura around the team is very destructive.
It’s time for the Wizards to move forward.
There should be a straight trade of Lonzo and Ingram for Beal and Wall. The Wizards get a reset they need, the Lakers get 2 All-Star guards. Simple stuff. This trade is slightly risky though as the Lakers wouldn’t have enough cap space to sign another star next summer.
Of course, Lakers need to add more players to match salaries. This trade is a little bit unrealistic because if they get Wall and Beal, they will not have enough money to sign Kevin Durant next summer, but… they can always get Durant via sign and trade and then they can use Bradley Beal or John Wall.
This one is a big stretch but hear me out. The Trail Blazers are currently 3rd in the West but they don’t have the potential to go anywhere significant in the Playoffs. Lillard and McCollum are great players but the rest of the squad is not. If Portland want any hope of actually contending for a title instead of just doing well in the regular season then it may be prudent to look elsewhere.
Trading Ball and Ingram in addition to KCP could be enough to get Lillard from the Blazers and set up the Lakers for the title run they want.
This the guy the Lakers really want; the best power forward in the world right now. Acquiring Davis would be incredible for the Lakers. He fits in perfectly with LeBron and Rondo, he can shoot and he’s an amazing defender. It would also give the Lakers a piece to build around when LeBron retires.
If by February the Pelicans still aren’t looking like they will make the Playoffs then they could part ways with The Brow and an offer of Ball, Ingram, Josh Hart, and a 1st round pick could be enough to bring Davis to LA.